My Entrepreneurial Journey

Before it’s too late (it closes to membership at midnight, October 15, 2015), I want to encourage you to check out a program called the Amazing Selling Machineone in a long list of programs and courses that, over the years, I have recommended homeschooling families to check into. Why? Because many of you have told me you’d like to do three things: (1) Bring Dad home, (2) Create a family business and/or (3) Find extra sources of family income. But I got an email from someone questioning why I would do this so…let me explain a little about my entrepreneurial journey and why I’m so invested in telling homeschooling families about opportunities like this.

Here’s my story….

I took what Robert Kiyosaki calls the Poor Dad route growing up. I made good grades in school, got a great education (Master’s Degree), and took a job in the Medical School at Emory University. I was making decent pay and working towards my PhD when the unthinkable happened—there weren’t enough jobs. I grew up during the Cold War when the mantra of American education was, “We’ve got to beat the Russians on the scientific front.” America raced to beat the Russians to the moon, to technological superiority, and to superiority in every other realm of scientific endeavor. As a result, any kids with a knack for math and an interest in science were shuttled towards degrees in science and engineering. I was one of those kids. But, by the time I started working on my PhD, there already was a glut of scientists and engineers. PhDs were having to take jobs as janitors just to make ends meet.

Then I wound up marrying a pastor and having two sons with cystic fibrosis and I needed (and wanted) to stay home and care for the children. I don’t know how many of you are in the ministry, but, believe me, unless you’re Joel O’Steen or T. D. Jakes, pastors don’t usually make a lot of money. So, between our pastor salary and the boys’ astronomical medical expenses, we were always struggling financially.

It really wasn’t practical for me to work outside the home, so I tried my hand at several different stay-at-home businesses and finally published a series of counted cross stitch books (a favorite hobby of mine at the time) that provided us a little bit of extra income.

Then, when my eldest son Seth was around 4 or 5, I started looking for something I could use to teach him how to read. Because of the difficulties we’d experienced with my daughter in both public and Christian schools and also because of my two younger sons’ health, I had already decided to homeschool Seth and his brothers. I stumbled across Sam Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics in the public library and within 6 weeks Seth was reading.

So I started telling friends about it and when I realized they all wanted their own copies of Alpha-Phonics, it dawned on me that there weren’t a lot of reading programs available to homeschoolers. This gave me an idea—why not start a company that catered to Christian homeschooling families and carried resources I knew worked? That was the beginning of The Elijah Company. I called the publisher of Alpha-Phonics and asked if I could be the exclusive home school distributor for all of Samuel Blumenfeld’s books (which are really good, by the way). He’d never heard of homeschooling and figured I was just some crazy lady from Tennessee, so he said yes. (Ten years later he asked if I would release him from our exclusive agreement because I had put Sam Blumenfeld and Alpha-Phonics on the homeschool map and nobody in the homeschool market could buy Sam’s books except through me.)

I started that year with a “catalog” of homeschooling materials that was just one Xeroxed page folded in half with 8 or 10 products on it—mostly books by Samuel Blumenfeld. Then the next year I expanded the catalog to 16 pages, then 32….

Then I met Mary Pride.

Mary had a homeschooling company herself and ran a homeschooling magazine and also had a household full of children, so she knew how frazzled all of that could make a person. She taught me that the best thing I could ever do was invest in tools and skills that made me more productive. At the time, I was writing the catalog on an old IBM Selectric typewriter, making photocopies of the covers of books, cutting and pasting to put the catalog pages together, then taking the whole shebang to Kinkos to get it photocopied and stapled. So you can guess what kind of a monster I became while I was working on the catalog each year.

I took Mary’s advice and gradually invested in a computer, a word processing program, Photoshop, a scanner, etc., etc. and was eventually able just to put the whole catalog on a flash drive and take it to a printer.

The more I invested in training myself and in the tools I needed to become successful, the larger The Elijah Company grew. Within 10 years I was putting out one big 250+ page catalog of homeschooling resources and 2 smaller specialty-focus catalogs a year. My husband stepped down from the pastorate, and the whole family started traveling around the country as vendors at homeschooling conventions. And we had 5 – 10 people working for us and a warehouse with hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory on the shelves. The boys grew up helping us run the business—starting in the shipping department and working their way up to order entry, holding down booths at homeschooling conventions, etc.

Then I met Rhea Perry.

I hadn’t given much thought to an “entrepreneurial education” because we were already doing that with the boys through our family business. But I’d had hundreds of homeschooling Moms and Dads approach me and my husband over the years asking how they could start their own home business or how they could at least make some extra income from home. Many of them wanted to be able to create a business that could “bring Dad home.” I never knew how to answer their questions. But Rhea was on a mission to “Bring Dad home” and had a Yahoo group for homeschooling families interested in creating home businesses. Rhea and I had become friends because we often were at the same homeschooling events. It was Rhea who introduced me to business courses and conferences.

At first I was appalled at the cost. What? You want me to pay $400 to go to an Entrepreneurs’ Conference? But when I really got into that arena, I realized that $400 was on the extreme CHEAP end of what good conferences and training cost. You don’t want to know what I’ve spent over the years to learn how to create various sources of income. I’ve paid anywhere from $2000 to $5,000 a pop to go to three day internet marketing seminars from people like John Reese and Armand Morin so we could learn the best way to create websites, manage mailing lists, and so on. I bought Alex Mandosian’s teleconference course and learned to host teleconferences. I bought John Dessaur’s program on multi-units and gradually converted my home into a triplex. I paid John Childers $7,000 to teach me and my boys public speaking.

And guess what? Every course I bought and every event I attended not only taught me new skills my family could use to make money, but also changed my perspective on life.

Not only did I drag my kids to these events so they could learn alongside me, but as I began telling homeschoolers about these various courses, some of them started going to them with me. And they started making money at home and helping supplement their family income.

Even though I’d always had an entrepreneurial mindset, it was mostly driven by desperation—I needed to make money to help us get by and to be able to give my children the opportunities they needed to succeed in life. But my mindset began to change. Instead of seeing life as a struggle to survive financially and money as hard to get, I began seeing the world as a place of amazing abundance where there were more than enough pieces of the pie to go around and where God was on my side, always working things to my good. So, if I would learn new skills and diligently apply what I learned, 9 times out of 10 I would make much, much more than I had invested in different courses and events.

I also began to understand that your most important asset is the knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated, so the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is be continually learning. That way your ability to generate income is not dependent on a job or on the ups and downs of the economy…you can always find a way to make money.

Now for the rest of the story….

After 9/11, the economy tanked and The Elijah Company began tanking with it. It was a combination of factors, really. The more popular homeschooling became, the more people wanted to jump into the business of selling homeschooling supplies and they began selling at deeper and deeper discounts until we could no longer match their prices. At the same time, the economy was nosediving and homeschoolers just weren’t buying like they used to. When they did buy, they bought from the discounters. And finally, some poor business decisions landed us deep in debt. So, in 2005, we closed the doors to the Elijah Company.

The only thing that kept us from losing our home was that I had learned a lot of different income producing strategies from the courses I’d taken and events I had attended. Because I had learned how to hold teleconferences, I began a series on stock trading with an options guru. Because I’d learned Photoshop and InDesign, I began doing contract work helping authors format their books for publication. Because I’d taken a Kindle course, I began writing Kindle books and now have about 10 of them up on Amazon. Because I’d studied WordPress and how to design an e-commerce website and how to do search engine optimization and how to build a mailing list, I began creating websites for myself and for others. I had also learned public speaking, so I took speaking engagements. Because I had learned the different facets of online marketing, I did private consultations for business start-ups. And, because I had taken John Dessaur’s multi-units course, we now had income from rentals.

Because of all the courses I’d taken and events I’d attended, I was able to create multiple streams of income to help support my family during one of our toughest economic times. And I did almost all of this from home. I only took a regular “job” for about six months.

It might sound like I’m a super-mom, but I’m not. I’m just a homeschooling mother trying to make sure my family is OK financially and learning as many ways to do that as I can.

So…long story short.

For the past five years, at almost every conference I attended, I would meet someone who was selling products on Amazon. I immediately saw the potential of selling on Amazon, but couldn’t find anyone who would teach me how to do it UNTIL…

Somehow I received an email from Matt Clark and Jason Katzenback telling me of a new course they had put together that taught how to sell products on Amazon. I don’t know how I ever got on their mailing list, but when I realized what they were going to cover in the course, I knew it was what I’d been looking for.

Yes, coming up with several thousand dollars to buy the course was a struggle, but they were giving a 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. With much trepidation, I used money my mother had given me and bought the ASM course on the 3 payment plan.

Once I got into it, I realized they weren’t just teaching me to sell products on Amazon, they were teaching me how to build a sustainable business with my own branded products, starting with selling on Amazon but eventually branching out to selling in other markets.

Around that time, my son James had a huge health crisis and nearly died. He was forced to quit his job and decided to move back home and go to college. Because he had no money and no job, he became interested in working through the course with me.

Then I met Michelle Reynolds.

Michelle and I were on the same shuttle from the airport to the hotel for the Amazing Selling Machine live event and we struck up a conversation. Michelle had been in a beta testing group of Matt and Jason’s so had been doing their system for about 8 months and was already making more a month than I had ever imagined possible. Little did I know that she was also a speaker at the event. Michelle was super encouraging and introduced me to other ASM members, some of whom were making over $100,000 a month in sales. With her help and encouragement, my son James and I went at it and, as they say, the rest is history. After selling on Amazon for only six months, our sales were in the $20,000 to $25,000 a month range and climbing. And after the first 9 months of using the course, we had made over $100,000 in sales. It looks like James is going to be able to pay his way through college and I’m going to be able to create more breathing room financially.

I can’t guarantee that our Amazon business is going to continue to do well long-term, but it has more than covered its expenses, has provided us with consistent profit, has introduced us to some great people and business mentors, and has taught James and me both valuable lessons about private labeling, marketing on social media, and so forth. And, the wonderful thing is, The Amazing Selling Machine teaches you to set everything up as a system. So if something goes wrong with the product we have now, we can just duplicate our system with another product and we can eventually move beyond just selling on Amazon.

I am writing all this to say three things:

First, I’m not trying to dangle a golden carrot in front of you. I apologize if it has seemed that way. I just so firmly believe that, if you’ll stretch yourself and learn new skills, you can become inflation-proof and always be able to generate income, even in the worst of times.

Second, the Amazing Selling Machine may or may not be a good fit for you. The timing may be wrong, the cost may be too much right now, you may not have the umph it’s going to take right now to follow through to success. That’s OK. There is always another opportunity. I just want you to have the opportunity to take advantage of this one because I really believe it has the most potential of any I’ve come across in the past five or ten years.

Third, if you have the interest, the start-up money, the time, and the motivation, this course can completely change your financial life. I urge you to at least try it out. With their money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you at least test-drive The Amazing Selling Machine for 30 days.

That’s about it. If you’re still interested in The Amazing Selling MachineGO HERE as soon as possible. The course is only open for membership until Thursday, October 15 and they are hinting that this may be the last time they will open it up for new members:

Here’s that link again: CLICK HERE NOW.

I wish you abundance and success in everything you set your hand and mind to.

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